“Among the things that give existing a sense of value is the making sure that no day goes by without the conscious admitting into it of the great and spacious. We must consistently see the lofty by reading, hearing and seeing great work at some moment every day” -Thorton Wilder
My grandmother, my Gaga, used this quote in her book A Spacious Life (which was her gift to us at the end of her life). That book is one of my greatest treasures, as I will be able to show my boys a glimpse of what a wise, graceful, intelligent, loving, and independent woman she was.
She had a wonderfully open heart and mind allowing her not only to absorb the arts she loved so much, but to live her “spacious life” authentically on so many levels. Her curiosity was endless. She loved gaining other’s perspectives and by doing this was able to live a life that allowed her to forgive, have a wonderful sense of humor, and have friendships with people of all ages and different lifestyles. And, I miss her terribly.
|Inscription inside my copy of A Spacious Life, by Mate Converse|
She also gave me my love of color. Saying her apartment in downtown Richmond was special and colorful is an understatement. From her lime green kitchen to her gold living room to the orange furniture in Howard Johnson guest-room (called that for the many colors of paint on the walls, trim and ceiling and fabrics that went with the needlepoint cushions of ice cream sundaes). There were fun wallpapers in the dining room, library and bathrooms. Her grand bedroom with hand-painted trompe l’oeil closet doors and canopied bed felt like it had popped right out of a fairy tale book. I loved that apartment. It was magical. It was interesting. It was welcoming and cozy. It was sunny. The colors defined the space, showcasing her art, her books, and her treasures that told the story of her life. I love that I can close my eyes and be with her in that space that was as unique as she was. A place where I remember listening to incredible pieces of classical music, watching epic movies, being read stories from her wonderful library, walking across the park to go see the ballet while hearing stories of her childhood or going on adventures to the art museum, Williamsburg, a dinner theater, or a favorite to Maymont Park (where we spent her last birthday out under a huge magnolia tree). But perhaps the best memory of all was just sitting on her gold sofa with her talking for hours. She was a grand listener and a true friend.
*I love to share her book with those who are interested. I have a dear friend who has read it and has since created beautiful pieces of art inspired by it. I can’t wait to celebrate her next! Stay tuned!